Book Series Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, vol. 26

The Hospital of Incurable Madness

L’Hospedale de’ Pazzi Incurabili (1586), by Tomaso Garzoni

Daniela Pastina, John W. Crayton (eds)

  • Pages: 251 p.
  • Size:175 x 255 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2010

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-52895-3
  • Hardback
  • Available

This translation of Garzoni's The Hospital of Incurable Madness provides a fascinating addition to our understanding of representations of mental illness in the Middle Ages.


This translation of Tomaso Garzoni’s Renaissance “best-seller” provides a rich and revealing window on sixteenth-century views of madness and foolishness, and social deviance. Garzoni’s encyclopedic work is perhaps the most important contribution of the last half of the century to the “fools” genre to which Erasmus’ Praise of Folly and Sebastian Brant’s Ship of Fools also belong. Garzoni provides a spoof of academic writing on madness, with extensive “reviews of the medical literature” on certain types of madness. A final, intriguing section on the varieties of madness to be found in Garzoni’s female “patients” reveals much about late-Renaissance attitudes towards women.